Trust-wide policy. Adopted: October 2016
The school/centre has formally adopted, through its local governing body (LGB), the Norfolk ‘Guidance for Offsite Visits’ www.oeapng.info and as outlined on EVOLVE www.norfolkvisits.org.uk. Further procedures have been agreed with the governing body to ensure that this policy is adhered to.
Aims and purposes of offsite visits
The school/centre has a strong commitment to the added value of learning outside the classroom and beyond the school premises. It will seek to provide a broad and balanced range of learning outside the classroom opportunities for all its pupils.
Every year the school will arrange a number of activities that will take place off the school site and out of schools hours, which support the aims of the school. The range of activities which the LGB has given its approval includes:
- Out of hours clubs (music, drama, art, science, sport, homework etc.)
- School sports teams
- Regular local visits (places of worship, swimming, other local amenities)
- Day visits for particular groups
- Residential visits
- Overseas visits
- Adventurous activities
The LGB has delegated the consideration and approval of offsite visits and activities to the Principal. The Principal has nominated a local member of staff as the educational visits co-ordinator (EVC) and the LGB has approved this appointment and the EVC has received training by the LA.
Before a visit is advertised to parents the Principal and EVC will approve the initial plan. The Principal and EVC will also approve the completed plan and risk assessments for the visit before departure. The will be undertaken using EVOLVE as the planning and approval system. www.norfolkvisits.org.uk
The school has agreed a policy for categorising its visits in line with NCC guidance:
- Level 3 visits must be approved via EVOLVE and the LA’s online approval gained
- Level 2 visits must be approved at school level via EVOLVE by the EVC and Principal
- Level 1 local regular day visits must be approved at school level via EVOLVE by the EVC and Principal
Definition of levels
- Level 3 – Overseas, residential or adventurous visits – these will be submitted to the LA via EVOLVE at least eight weeks prior to the visit taking place although ideally when planned
- Level 2 – Day visits not in your establishments list of level 1 visits must be approved - these will be approved by the Principal at least four weeks prior to the trip taking place
- Level 1 – Local and regular visits that you have generic risk assessments and local operating procedures for. These include sports fixtures and regular low-risk offsite activities. A list of regular local visits to be compiled in each school and maintained and agreed by the EVC and the Principal – these will be approved in EVOLVE by the Principal at least one week prior to the trip taking place
- Failure to comply may result in the visit being cancelled
The school recognises the key role of accompanying staff in ensuring the highest standards of learning, challenge and safety on a school visit.
Staff are encouraged and supported to develop their abilities in organising and managing visits. There will be a system within the school to allow less experiences members of staff to work alongside more experienced colleagues on visits. The selection of staff for offsite visits will be key priority in the initial approval of any proposed visit. Staff will be suitably qualified and experienced for proposed activities.
The school values and recognises the contribution of volunteer adults and parent helpers assisting offsite activities and visits. Any volunteer will be approved by both the Principal and the visit leader and is entered on the voluntary helpers list kept by the school. They will be carefully briefed on the scope of their responsibility. Where it is appropriate the school will ensure that DBS screening is available for volunteers.
The appointed visit leader will be fully supported in the tasks required to arrange the visit. This will include, as necessary, making time or finances available to conduct an exploratory visit, briefing teachers and/or other staff, accessing training courses, reviewing and evaluating the visit or identifying time when the leader and EVC might work in partnership to undertake planning and risk assessments.
Any proposed trips and visits should be shared with curriculum leaders early on in the planning process prior to EVOLVE being completed to avoid any clashes in school.
Visit staff will not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs such that their ability to recognise hazards or respond to emergencies is in any way restricted.
Risk assessment and safeguarding
The visit leader will seek to identify any significant risks from any activity that is under their control and take appropriate steps to ensure all participants are safe. Good practice precautions and safety measures will be taken and this will be recorded in a risk assessment.
For level 3 trips the designated safeguarding lead should make the visit leader aware of any significant safeguarding risks attached to any of the students in the visit, whilst maintaining appropriate confidentiality.
Due regard should be given to safeguarding policy and Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE Sept 2016) for all visits.
External activity providers
Where external contractors are involved in organising all or part of the visit, the contract will be made with the school on behalf of the pupils. All payments for the visit will be made through the Trust accounts.
The visit leader will make appropriate check before committing the school to the contract. This will include seeking assurances about health and safety, and any accreditation and licensing. Wherever possible the school will seek to use holders of the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for which no providers’ contract or other assurances are required.
Written consent from parents will not be required for pupils to take part in the majority of offsite activities organised by the school as most of these activities take place during school hours and are a normal part of a child’s education. However, parents will be told where their child will be at all times and of any extra information or measures required
Written consent will be requested for activities that need a higher level of risk management or those that take place outside of school hours. The school has a standard form, which will be used for this purpose.
As part of the parent consent they will be fully informed of the activities and arrangements for the visit. For all residential visits parents will be invited to a briefing meeting where they can ask for clarification of any aspect of the itinerary and the organisation of the visit.
The school has policies for charging and remissions, pupil premium, behaviour and inclusion which apply to all visits.
The expectations of pupils and parents
The school has a clear code of conduct for school visits based on the school behaviour policy. This code of conduct will be part of the condition of booking by the parents. Pupils, whose behaviour is such that the visit leader is concerned for their safety, or for that of others, can be withdrawn from the activity. The visit leader will consider whether such pupils should be sent home early and parents will be expected to cover any costs of the journey home.
The school will appoint a member of the leadership team as the emergency contact for each visit. All major incidents should immediately be relayed to this person, especially those involving injury or that might attract media attention.
The visit leader will leave full details of all pupils and accompanying adults on the visit with the emergency contact, including the home contact details of parents and next-of-kin, as appropriate.
All incidents and accidents occurring on a visit will be reported back and recorded following normal school procedure for reporting and investigating accidents.
Review by the local authority
The school is supported in its arrangements for offsite visits by the County Council. Where necessary the school will seek advice from the adviser for outdoor learning.
All visits that involve an overnight stay, going abroad and any that involve adventurous activities will be notified to the LA at least eight weeks prior to departure. The LA will provide an independent assurance check of the plan and the precautions and safety measures that will be taken.
Some sample monitoring will also be undertaken by the LA and the school agrees to facilitate this when and where required. Any advice provided will be fully considered prior to the trip taking place.
Charging policy for activities and visits
The school may invite, but not require, parents to make voluntary contributions for school activities in order to enhance what is otherwise provided. There is no obligation to contribute and pupils will not be treated any differently according to whether or not their parents have made a contribution.
The level of contribution will be calculated for each activity and may include, for example, an element to cover the participation by pupils from low-income families of the cost of travel for accompanying teachers.
The school will comply with the law in relation to charges that may be made for the cost of activities provided outside school hours, within school hours and board and lodging on residential visits.
A copy of the EVOLVE sheet, supporting documentation i.e. costing information and letter to families must be sent to the central finance team prior to any monies being collected for all visits where a contribution is being sought.
Financial approval will be sought from the central finance team for all level 3 trips prior to being offered to families.
Other policies that this educational visits policy relates to are:
- Charging and remissions policy
- Pupil premium policy/statement
- Inclusion policy
- Behaviour policy